17 August 2016

Italy rules out burkini ban, wants home-trained imams

Italy will not follow France by allowing burkini bans on public beaches but is planning tighter regulation of imams and mosques, the country's interior minister said in comments published Wednesday.

Angelino Alfano told the Corriere della Sera daily that he regarded France's restrictions on Islamic clothing as counter-productive because of the potential backlash it could provoke.

"The interior ministry's responsibility is to guarantee security and to decide the severity of responses which however must never become provocations that could potentially attract attacks," Alfano said.

Asked specifically about the burkini bans recently introduced by several French seaside towns, Alfano added: "It doesn't seem to me, alas, that the French model has worked for the best."

Alfano, who is planning to table a new security law in September, also said he wanted all imams preaching in the country's mosques to be trained in Italy, and for all mosques to be fully compliant with the law. [AFP] Read more

'There's not much that's German here anymore'

Bad Godesberg was once home to diplomats working in Bonn. Today, Muslim women in veils and Arab shops and restaurants are abounding. Many long-term residents no longer feel at home, reports Daniel Heinrich.

Sabine Galuschka knows everyone here. The 57-year-old owns a small flower shop in the middle of Bad Godesberg's main street. Her discussions with customers often go beyond the business of buying flowers. The current debate about banning burqas is a particularly hot topic. "I just don't like that there are so many veiled women walking around. That's not the way we dress when we go out," she said. "I would just like to know who's hiding beneath the veil."

Not all women in Bad Godesberg wear the veil. As I walk through the town center on a warm summer's day, the contrast is stark. On one side of the street there are young girls in hot pants and tops; on the other side, there are women in headscarves. There are also women swathed in black niqabs, a type of full-body veil with just a narrow opening for the eyes. But there's not a burqa in sight. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Burkini beach row puts French values to test

Burkini or bikini, French commentators have asked, ironically, about this summer's choice of beachwear.

It is no coincidence that the ban on Islamic burkinis - full-body swimsuits - should arise from French Riviera beaches, a few kilometres from Nice, a city struck by a militant Islamist attack that killed 85 people on Bastille Day, just a month ago.

The town of Cannes was the first to pass the summer ban, which was confirmed by the courts on 13 August. And Cannes was soon followed by the towns of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice, and Sisco in Corsica.

Even the mayor of the northern seaside resort of Le Touquet is said to be about to pass a similar ban: no burkini will be tolerated on public beaches.

So far a small number of women have been fined (€38 in Cannes - £33; $43) for wearing a burkini on the beach at Cannes. And the mayor's decision has triggered a heated debate.

Cannes mayor David Lisnard has tried to explain his decision in these terms: "The burkini is like a uniform, a symbol of Islamist extremism. This is why I am banning it for the summer." [BBC] Read more

French PM backs burkini bans as three more towns consider outlawing garments

France’s Prime Minister has backed the banning of burkini swimsuits, saying they are not compatible with French values and are based on the “enslavement of women”.

His comments come after a series of towns in the Mediterranean coast announced a ban, citing security concerns following a summer marred by extremist attacks.

However, Manuel Valls told the La Provence newspaper he was not in favour of a national law along such lines, even as three more towns said they were considering similar moves. [The Independent] Read more

16 August 2016

Abuse of Muslims is now mainstream. I never thought my children would see this

Nadiya Hussain’s account on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs of the everyday anti-Muslim prejudice she encounters may have come as a surprise to some people. It won’t shock anyone in the Muslim community.

.... It is not only those engaged in politics like myself, London mayor Sadiq Khan or Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who receive abuse. The promotion of hatred and fear has been mainstreamed to the extent that there is now little outcry when a mosque is attacked, or when kids come home crying after being taunted for their faith, or when an elderly man like Mohammed Saleem is murdered. One recent survey suggested a 326% rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015.

Every Muslim I know has a story to tell. We are resigned to being blamed and vilified for the actions of any Muslim anywhere in the world. No matter how often we denounce the horrible atrocities carried out by some fanatics, we are still associated with them. No matter that this is as unfair and ridiculous as associating all white Christian men with Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik because he claimed to act as a Christian, or blaming Christianity itself for the genocidal actions of Radovan Karadzic because he described his war against Bosnian Muslims as “holy”. [Salma Yaqoob, 309 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1128 votes] Criticism of Islam, along with all religions, is perfectly justified. Shouting slurs at a person in the street is not.

[2ND 1016] Have you ever wondered why?

"No matter how often we denounce the horrible atrocities carried out by some fanatics, we are still associated with them."

In response to the savage killing of a well liked and locally cherished man, Asad Shah (R.I.P.), perhaps not quite a Moslem according to some Islamic scholars, the leader of Bradford's Mosques said what this country (sic) needs is a blasphemy law so that people won't need to take the law (sic) into their own hands. That is, embrace the justification for murder in order to stop the urge to murder for Allah's sake. Who needs this? You do, apparently. Still wondering?

[3RD 948] Questioning religious beliefs in a secular society is entirely acceptable. If you have the faith in your convictions then you should be able to accept this and come out the other side intact. The problem is actually the other way because religions have in built rules to prevent them being questioned, because ultimately the people at the top who use religion as a politicial tool know that religions are false and useful only for controlling the masses.

Abusing people is not acceptable, whatever their background. Questioning their belief system is acceptable.

[4TH 933] Given the large number of atrocities committed in the past few years in the name of Islam, it is not entirely surprising that people may be a little wary of those who adhere to that religion and its customs.

[5TH 885] I wonder if it ever occurs to religious people that following a set of beliefs which are not true and call for significant sacrifice in time and energy in order to please non-existent gods, might - MIGHT - put them at a disadvantage when compared with the general population.

I'm increasingly finding it hard to have any sympathy with the plight of religious people in Western society; they have made a conscious choice to live at a disadvantage and we have bent over backward to accommodate their choice - we allow them time off in order to pray, we let them run their own schools, we grant them charitable status for example - but for all this bending over backwards it cannot and should not be overlooked that being religious is a relic of a bygone age, almost completely unfit for a modern, liberal society and that because of this there will be times when religious people feel hard done by or disrespected.

It's not because we dislike religious people as people, it's because we're exasperated at having to cede ground for beliefs which we know, for a fact, are nonsense.

[6TH 713] "He also asked me if he would be safe if he stopped being a Muslim."

Probably not.. apostasy is frowned upon.

[7TH 697] I would far rather some nasty names shouted at me than blown up, beheaded or stabbed.

[8TH 653] Until Islamist atrocities became an almost daily event somewhere in the world, I don't think many people here really paid the religion much mind.

Now that more have, they simply don't like what they see.

[9TH 651] If you turn up for an interview in extreme religious dress be that monks cassock, nuns habit or hijab you can surely forgive an employer who comes to the conclusion your religion is likely to come before your job, and decides that others may be more suitable.

[10TH 607] "To blame a whole race, ethnic or religious group for the actions of a few is racism."

Check out the quranic opinion on the vile 'unbeliever' if you're looking for 'racism' and 'othering'....

ALL of us are to be viewed as subhuman, simply for our inability to swallow the nonsense required to be one of the 'faithful'.

Your 'holy' scriptures are a textbook for division and hate.


[11TH 606] The author is right, Islamophobia is a huge, world-wide problem. Every day we hear of Shia Muslims being murdered by Sunni Islamophobes, and vice versa, and of Ahmadi and Sufi Muslims being murdered by Islamophobes of all denominations. Even here in Britain, an Islamophobe recently drove 200 miles in order to kill an Ahmadi Muslim - purely from Islamophobic hatred. It is a massive problem, and needs to be dealt with effectively.

[12TH 593] "No matter how often we denounce the horrible atrocities carried out by some fanatics, we are still associated ...."

I have a very close Muslim friend, we were at med school & we are both junior doctors. He tells me the level of condemnation/denunciation of extremism in certain mosques is, in his opinion " lamentable, either totally missing or half hearted .. "

This how to dissociate problem for the muslim community has gone on since post - 9/11 ... it's not new - so it's fair to ask why is it still there Salma?

People need more convincing that ordinary muslims really despise extremists.

And, you're right, no-one should assume the opposite. But people are tired of it all and ... they will. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Red Carpets, Red Lines

If you want to support religious murder, let an expert show you how to do it.

Prominent Pakistani preacher Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, for example. Here he delivers a wild tirade for Mumtaz Qadri, the man who assassinated Pakistani politician Salman Taseer in 2011 for “blasphemy”.

.... Who would want to hear from such men outside Pakistan? Plenty of people here in the UK, of course, ready and keen to extend the warmest of welcomes. The pair are currently on a seven week UK tour which began in July and will run to early September.

The itinerary includes mosques and Islamic groups in Banbury, Batley, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bradford, Brierfield, Chesham, Crawley, Derby, Dudley, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Halifax, London, Luton, Maidenhead, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Slough, Stockton on Tees, Wakefield, and Watford.

Oh, and Lambeth Palace too. Archbishop Welby said it was “great” to welcome the preachers to Lambeth Palace in July. [Harry’s Place] Read more

France defends burkini ban on tense post-attack beaches

The French government has defended municipal bans on body-covering Muslim burkini swimwear but called on mayors to try and cool tensions between communities.

.... The burkini debate is particularly sensitive in France given deadly attacks by Islamist militants, including bombings and shootings in Paris which killed 130 people last November, which have raised tensions between communities and made people wary of public places.

The socialist government's minister for women's rights, Laurence Rossignol, said municipal bans on the burkini should not be seen in the context of terrorism but she supported the bans.

"The burkini is not some new line of swimwear, it is the beach version of the burqa and it has the same logic: hide women's bodies in order to better control them," Rossignol told French daily Le Parisien in an interview.

.... France, which has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated at 5 million, in 2010 introduced a ban on full-face niqab and burqa veils in public.

Rossignol said the burkini had sparked tensions on French beaches because of its political dimension.

"It is not just the business of those women who wear it, because it is the symbol of a political project that is hostile to diversity and women's emancipation," she said. [Reuters] Read more

Pakistani clerics who praised brutal murderer Mumtaz Qadri welcomed into UK by mosques

Two Pakistani cleric who praised the murderer of a popular Pakistani politician have been welcomed into the UK with open arms and are touring mosques around the country, Political Scrapbook has learnt.

They both even had a friendly meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

How in the world did the Home Office let them into the country?

Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman are both popular preachers in Pakistan, on tour around the UK until 4th September.

They are also big supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, the man who brutally murdered the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer for speaking out in defense of religious minorities and against its brutal blasphemy laws.

Both spoke in front of huge crowds in Rawalpindi, Pakistan just a few months ago after Qadri was hanged for his crime. [Political Scrapbook] Read more

Halal abattoirs forced to reveal how many animals they kill without using a stun gun

Halal and kosher abattoirs are exempt from Food Standard Agency (FSA) compulsions to knock-out the animals before slitting their throats.

But the FSA does not record the number of animals killed under these exemptions, leading to fears over the quality of animal welfare.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which opposes the religious exemptions on animal welfare grounds, called for regular reporting of the numbers, which has now been granted.

FSA chair Heather Hancock said the new survey would show how many slaughterhouses were stunning or not stunning and “this routine data will be regularly supplemented with additional information on the numbers of animals that are slaughtered by these methods”. [Daily Express] Read more

Cancer of Islamic extremism was tolerated for 20 years

.... Mass calls for a caliphate followed by a jihadist murder on London’s streets in 1995 should have acted as a clear warning of the Isis brutality that was set to befall us all. If only there had been civil society resistance against Islamism back when I was 17. Perhaps we would not have lost an entire generation to those who laid the groundwork for Isis to reach our continent.

Just as one of my former British-Pakistani solicitors went on to become the mayor of London, perhaps the other could also have gone on to do great things, on the right side of English law. A sudden mass-migration of European Muslims on the scale that went to join the caliphate did not emerge from a vacuum.

Why would it surprise us then that more Muslims left the UK to join Isis than joined our armed forces? They were simply responding to 20 years of unchecked radicalisation within our communities. Two decades earlier, they had been promised at Wembley arena: Khilafah — coming soon to a country near you. [The Times (£)] Read more

15 August 2016

Five reasons to wear a burkini – and not just to annoy the French

Wahey – it’s that time again, people! The burkini is all the rage for the ump-flippin-teenth time, and our latest dip into controversial swimwear politics comes from – you’ll never guess – the French.

The mayor of Cannes is going trigger-ban happy by curtailing the right to swim while covered on the French Riviera. The ruling states: “Beachwear that ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order.” I don’t think that thought crossed Nigella Lawson’s mind, to be honest.

Nothing says “losing the plot” to me more than demonising what is, let’s face it, a wetsuit. Is full-piece swimwear really more offensive than seeing a middle-aged bum crack? Is it really going to terrorise your Mr Whippy into a total meltdown?

Non, they say, we must ban the burqa. Ban the burkini! Ban the bikini! Oh no, wait, the last one is OK because it’s not related to religion or politics. [1404 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1592 votes] Make muslim men wear them. The hijab and niqab as well, to maintain the dignity of muslim men....see how long that lasts.

[2ND 1085] Been to Saudi recently? I hear Qatar is nice this time of year as well. The Burqa is part of the way women are subjugated within Islam, women are treated like cattle that can't look after themselves, that is what the Burqa symbolises.

[3RD 977] So if the writer of this article is supporting the wearing of the burka in Europe I assume she is supporting women wearing bikinis in Saudi Arabia? No? Really? Women's equality is only a problem in Europe I guess?

[4TH 965] Nah I agree with the mayor of Cannes. Religious attire has no place on the beach in a secular society. When your argument falls back to the 1950's ban on bikinis in then religiously conservative societies as a reason to defy the ban, it becomes clear where your attitude to dresswear on the beach belongs. Ie: back in the 50's wrapped up in religious dogma.

[5TH 783] No matter how hard you try and fool yourself: the burkini, and all Islamic "modest" attire (which, curiously enough, applies only to women: how is it so?) are awful and rather ridiculous-looking instruments of oppression, and also rather new ones, having entered mainstream Islam together with the peculiar fundamentalist wahhabi mentality which have become prevalent in the last two decades. Celebrating them is celebrating fundamentalism.

A better use of this admittedly modest attempt at wit would be in mocking a religion that imposes, in 2016, what women should wear, at the beach or everywhere else.

[6TH 754] "Five reasons to wear a burkini – and not just to annoy the French"

As if the French have nothing else to be annoyed about at the moment.

Still, what a laugh, eh?

[7TH 711] So you're surprised that the French take admittedly foolish measures? Could it be that France has been particularly targeted by terrorists? Burkini's are seen in France as a statement adhering to extremist (islamic) or sharia inspired views. In thàt context the French apply their traditional adherence to laïcitè. No surprise at all.

[ANOTHER 558] [To] all the pro-burikini non-muslim feminists: have you ever tried swimming with all your clothes on? do you know it feels?? it's an extremely unpleasant sensation, both in the water and even more so, out of it, afterwards.

it's not even islamic. it's been introduced recently by ultra-conservative elements, and like the wearing of the niqab and burkha is sponsored by extremist groups as a way of propegating supression of women

[ANOTHER 571] Think of all the other ways you can diversify women's lib and celebrate freedom along the same lines: refuse promotions at work (voluntary, part-time work, obviously); defer to your husband's every whim; forego your right to vote (as a statement).

[ANOTHER 570] I think first and second wave feminists are spinning in their graves. The new feminism is to cover up in a burka. What next? "Women don't go out and work, stay at home, that's freedom "

[ANOTHER 500] Hilarious. In Islamic countries, strict dress code is always enforced, and Westerners have to abide by these rules, which they do without complaint. And yet when you are asked to show the same respect to your host country, suddenly that's all oppressive and illiberal, is it? Your complaints about intolerance and lack of respect for diversity would be far better directed at your own culture, which is far more oppressive than anything you will find in the country you appear to despise so much. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Charlie Hebdo faces 'imminent' attack after publishing image of naked Muslims

The satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has received death threats after it published another controversial front page which has been accused of mocking Muslims.

Commenting on the decision to ban burkas from beaches in Cannes, the latest issue depicts a man and woman with a traditional beard and hijab running naked on the beach with the caption “The reform of Islam: Muslims loosen up”.

The issue was published on Wednesday and the staff received a threat that a new attack was imminent via the magazine’s Facebook page, Le Parisien reported.

Officers from the BRDP branch of the Paris police said this is not the first time the magazine has been threatened since the terror attack on their offices in January 2015. [The Independent] Read more

14 August 2016

Pointless death of this brainwashed teenage bride

Kadiza Sultana, one of the Bethnal Green schoolgirls who travelled to Syria last year during a half-term break to join Islamic State, after being radicalised online, is believed to have been killed by a Russian airstrike on the city of Raqqa.

On her arrival in Syria, Sultana, 16 when she left Britain, was married to an Islamic fighter, who was killed. She’d confided to her family that she was disillusioned with life under Isis and was desperate to return home, but could see no way out. Another European female who’d attempted to leave had been battered to death.

While the fate of the other British schoolgirls, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, is unknown, Sultana has not been in contact with her family for several weeks and a number of sources now say that she’s dead.

All her own fault? Of course, but still it’s devastating – this is not about Sultana “getting what was coming to her”, or about the killing of a “jihadi bride”, it’s about the pointless death of a headstrong, brainwashed teenage girl. [657 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 217 votes] The author simply assumes that she was groomed and is therefore a victim.

The idea that the girl might have made a calm and deliberate choice and that she might actually be responsible for her own actions, seems to escape Ms Ellen.

[2ND 216] I get that teenage girls are more vulnerable than older women, however they still know about the beheadings and other atrocities and unless they are actually mentally impaired than they have to accept full responsibility. A girl being groomed for sex is not in any way analogous to this.

[3RD 183] "But then, isn’t this how groomers operate – making their targets feel unique, noticed, admired? If people accept that children can be sexually groomed online, then why is it so difficult to believe that someone like Sultana can be ideologically groomed – radicalised – by people who know how to cynically manipulate the impressionable teenage psyche? This is how the dogma-flavoured “sweet nothings” unfold. You’re special … You’re exceptional … You’re destined for greatness. That’s how teenagers like Sultana become fired up via the internet."

No, sorry, that doesn't work for me. I still can't fathom how a bright, impressionable girl could decide to throw away her prosperous life and future on a whim after being told "Yeah, it's true we murder gays, apostates and all our enemies in the most barbaric manner but you're "unique" and "special"."

I am still not shedding tears over this dumb girl. Teenagers make mistakes but this is rather unprecedented.

[4TH 173] Some interesting and thoughtful points about the death of Kadiza Sultana. I would agree that she was "groomed" by ISIS but one also has to ask what made her susceptible to their advances. Perhaps the answer to that question can be found in Bethnal Green rather than Raqqa.

[ANOTHER 139] Utterly disingenous. That Kadiza Sultana was lured into joining IS has very little to do with her being a headstrong teenager, and most to do with her being brought up in an already fundamentalist Islamic context.

She liked what she saw in the IS propaganda videos, and she embarked on a mission to be part of that. If at all, one can be sorry for her having being brought up in an environment that led her to find appealing fleeing to Syria and joining a murderous deathcult. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Germany Now Has More Than 1,000 Documented Child Marriages

.... Child marriages have not been an issue in Germany until recent years. The practice is illegal in Germany, but since the country doesn’t recognize “religious marriages,” authorities can’t do anything to stop it in most cases.

German television channel N24 claims the number of child marriages in the country now exceeds 1,000, and that the actual number is believed to significantly higher.

An anonymous teacher told newspaper Welt am Sonntag that young girls often suddenly stop showing up to school after getting married.

“There are frequently cases where a girl, usually between 13 and 15 years of age, suddenly no longer come to school,” the teacher said in an article published Sunday. [The Daily Caller] Read more

Hofer proposes burka ban and Turkish passport blocks

In an interview published on Sunday with the mass circulation Oesterreich tabloid, Norbert Hofer, the far-right Freedom Party's (FPÖ) candidate for president of Austria, outlined his position on several topics, including a proposed burka ban, similar to the one in France.

Matching a similar position to this political opponents, Hofer also supports a block on negotiation with Turkey over an EU accession. He goes further however by suggesting that if Turkey does join, or the EU doesn't reform to allow more freedom for member states, then he would support an Austrian exit from the EU institutions.

After recent security incidents in neighbouring countries, Hofer is now leading in the polls for the re-run of the presidential elections, due on October 2nd. [The Local] Read more

Islamic Islamophobia: When Muslims Are Not Muslim Enough, What Does It Promise for the Rest of Us?

Mr Shah's murderer was a Sunni Muslim, Tanveer Ahmed, who had travelled to Glasgow to kill Mr Shah because he believed Mr Shah had "disrespected the Prophet Mohammed." At this point the comfortable narratives of modern Britain began to fray.

If Mr Shah's murderer had been a non-Muslim, there would be a concerted effort by the entirety of the media and political class to find out what inspirations and associations the murderer had.

Specifically, they would want to know if there was anybody -- especially any figure of authority -- who had ever called for the murder of Muslim shopkeepers. Yet when a British Muslim kills another British Muslim for alleged "apostasy" and local religious authorities are found to have praised or mourned the killers of people accused of "apostasy," the same people cannot bother to stir themselves. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Oppressed in Islam’s heartlands, Ahmadis hope to fare better in the West

IN WHAT organisers called one of the biggest Muslim gatherings in the Western world, tens of thousands of faithful gathered this weekend in a green and pleasant part of southern England and affirmed their loyalty to their caliph. Does that mean an Islamic revolution is in progress? No, nothing of the kind.

For Ahmadiyya or Ahmadi Muslims, the caliphate or supreme leadership of their worldwide community is a purely spiritual function; they see it as a point of principle that people should be loyal and useful citizens of whichever country they live in.

That's one reason why the three-day proceedings included the ceremonial hoisting of the British flag. The current caliph (pictured) made clear his view that Britain, where he resides, would benefit from more frequent public declarations of loyalty to Queen and country; for example, there could be an American-style pledge of allegiance to the flag in British schools. [The Economist] Read more

French court upholds ban on Muslim women wearing 'burkinis' in Cannes

The court said the ruling imposed by the mayor of Cannes was legal but many religious groups were outraged.

Authorities in the glamorous seaside resort and nearby villages voted to ban full-body swimsuits from the end of last month.

The court said the ban was legal under a law which bans people neglecting common rules on "relations between public authorities and private individuals" on the basis of religion.

The judge noted the ban came "in the context of the state of emergency and recent Islamist attacks, notably in Nice a month ago", according to the BBC.

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France said it would appeal against the decision in France's highest administrative court. [Evening Standard] Read more

13 August 2016

French court upholds Cannes burkini ban

The French resort of Cannes won court backing for its "burkini ban" on Saturday as a judge refused to overturn its decision to forbid Muslim women from wearing the full-body swimsuit.

Local authorities in the Riviera city, home to the famous Cannes film festival, moved to ban burkinis from beaches at the end of July. The nearby resort of Villeneuve-Loubet followed suit on Saturday.

Three women backed by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) challenged the Cannes decision in court on Friday, saying it was illegal and calling for it to be suspended.

But a court in Nice rejected the request, saying the move was legal under French law forbidding people from "invoking their religious beliefs to skirt common rules regulating relations between public authorities and private individuals". [AFP] Read more

Jordanian writer faces arrest over offensive cartoon

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Jordanian writer after he allegedly published a cartoon on social media that was deemed highly offensive to Muslims.

The warrant for writer Nahed Hattar was issued on Friday after he failed to appear for questioning over the cartoon posted on his Facebook page.

It is not known who produced the cartoon, which shows a fighter from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) sitting next to two women and asking God to bring him a drink.

The backlash against Hattar was immediate with Jordanian social media users lambasting the writer for sharing the cartoon and accusing him of being anti-Islam and purposely causing offence to Jordanian Muslims. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Burkini ban: Second French Riviera resort follows Cannes as mayor says Muslim beachwear 'unwelcome'

'In France, one does not come to the beach dressed to display religious convictions,' mayor says.

A second French Riviera resort has announced a ban against “burkinis” as uproar continues over the prohibition in Cannes.

Lionnel Luca, the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet, said the prohibition of full-body swimsuits worn by some Muslim women was for sanitary reasons.

“I was told that there was a couple on one of our beaches where the wife was swimming fully dressed, and I considered that unacceptable for hygienic reasons and unwelcome given the general situation,” he told the AFP news agency. [The Independent] Read more

Ritual slaughter at abattoirs will not be monitored

Slaughterhouses will be allowed to conceal the total number of animals they kill without having stunned them first.

The Food Standards Agency’s new monthly survey of abattoirs will not routinely record the number of animals killed under exemptions granted to Muslim and Jewish slaughtermen allowing them not to comply with the general legal requirement to pre-stun.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) urged the FSA to publish regular reports on how many animals had their throats cut while they were still conscious and able to feel pain to determine the extent of unnecessary suffering by animals and how much unstunned meat was being sold for general consumption. [The Times (£)] Read more

12 August 2016

Isis promised Kadiza Sultana utopia, but in Syria she found fear and death

.... At the age of 16, Sultana and her friends were radicalised online, persuaded to leave their homes, and marry Isis fighters. In the digital age, radicalisation no longer necessitates physical access to extreme preachers or getting hold of jihadi material.

Recent research by the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics and Digitalis found that access to extremist content, ranging from Isis magazines, beheading videos, and jihadi manuals, is no more than a Google search away.

Counter-narratives to such propaganda are failing to compete. As a result, young, impressionable internet users like Sultana are left vulnerable to dangerous ideologies, even in the supposed safety and security of their own bedrooms.

According to her family, Sultana was a very bright student with wide opportunities open to her. Extremist ideologies are powerful, not because of the current grievances, but because they seem to offer a utopia. Women all over the globe have been radicalised by Isis, and there is a considerable amount of diversity in their profiles. The notion that all the western women who travel to join Isis are migrating with the sole intention of becoming “jihadi brides” is misleading. [805 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1235 votes] These idiots watch the new about beheadings, burnings, hand choppings, rape, bombings etc. etc., plus they know how women are treated, yet they still say to themselves, "I'll have some of that". Are we meant to sympathise?

[4TH 652] I think we're meant to take the blame, to be honest. That's certainly likely to be the case given the publication.

[2ND 836] That seems to be the intention of the family lawyer and MP earlier; berating the government for something or other.

Family, Mosque, community, nowt to do with them it seems.

[3RD 789] Anyone leaving the UK to join ISIS should have their British passport cancelled

[5TH 526] I once saw a person on a Guardian article commenting that we shouldn't cancel their passports: It's inhumane. As he said, "Even in World War 2, there was no talk of cancelling the passports of people who defected to the Nazis".

It's objectively true. We didn't cancel anyone's passports. Because we just shot them all.

It was the most interesting case of being technically correct whilst basically lying through your teeth I've ever seen in my life. I still have the screenshot somewhere!

[6TH 365] I have zero sympathy for these idiots, anyone with an ounce of sense can see the atrocities committed by ISIS yet they willingly joined up. Besides that it should be fairly obvious that travelling to an active war zone from a safe country entails serious risk, so the outpouring of sympathetic articles from the media puzzles me. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Human rights groups vow to challenge burkini ban on Cannes beaches

A French human rights association and Muslim groups have said they will take legal action against the mayor of Cannes for issuing a decree banning burkinis from the resort’s beaches.

David Lisnard signed off on a ruling last month preventing women from wearing the full-body swimsuits in the Côte d’Azur town. The decree was introduced shortly after the Bastille day attack in Nice in July, where a delivery driver killed 85 people when he ploughed into crowds celebrating the French national holiday on the seafront.

The decree states that Muslim women wearing burkinis could be a threat to public order and will be cautioned and fined €38 (£33).

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order (crowds, scuffles etc), which it is necessary to prevent,” it says. [The Guardian] Read more

Despite CDU-CSU push, Germany can't legally ban burqas

Several German politicians have called on the country to follow France, Belgium and a Swiss region in banning full-body coverings. But Germany's constitution prevents this - and hardly anyone wears them here anyway.

Julia Klöckner's opinion is fairly typical of that of many politicians in Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU): "The full-body veil is not a sign of religious diversity, but stands for a degrading image of women," the party's deputy leader told the "Bild" newspaper this week.

It's not the first time that a conservative German politician has called for a public ban on the full-body coverings worn by some Muslim women - but the debate has resurfaced with extra persistence recently, even though very few women wear such garments in the country.

(The commonly used phrase "burqa ban" is something of a misnomer in a German context: The burqa, a loose cloak where the eyes are also covered with a mesh, is virtually unknown - though the niqab, where the eyes are visible, is occasionally seen.) [Deutsche Welle] Read more